AN: I'm using the Golden Age versions of Lois Lane and Steve Trevor in this story but sticking them into the present. Some clarifications: Lois is not out to prove that Clark Kent is Superman, and Steve is still an obliging, non-resentful mansel in distress.
I have no legal rights over any DC Comics characters or content.
THE HORN-RIMMED SPECTACLES
Major Steve Trevor was a tired but happy man on Wednesday morning. He had just returned the night before from an intelligence mission in Europe – thankfully, this one was just recon on a traditional military coup and not of a rogue Greek god. While he was overseas, one of his army buddies had radioed to him that Wonder Woman had been sighted several times in Metropolis. Without a moment's hesitation, Major Steve decided that he would head over to Metropolis too to chance a meeting with her. On Tuesday night as soon as he returned to Washington, he booked his train tickets to Metropolis, where he promptly arrived the next morning.
The only bee in his good-natured bonnet was that it was rather difficult to get in touch with Wonder Woman this morning. Normally, his beloved had a knack of knowing exactly when he was in trouble. Hadn't she rescued him countless times from devious calcium-hoarding baronesses and enemy spies? But for the last several days, Steve Trevor had been in perfect health, with not so much as even a papercut. Still, he kept his fingers crossed. After all, he was in Metropolis – the town was infested with meta-powered loonies.
He had tried several times to get in touch with his interim secretary for assistance. Steve's usual secretary was out for the week, and so Colonel Darnell had offered him the services of his own. Steve had accepted this offer grudgingly – it was flattering that his boss had displayed such friendship towards him, but the Colonel's secretary was unbearable. Every time Diana Prince walked by Steve she made doe-eyes at him. These were only magnified by the unfortunately thick lenses of her glasses. And whenever he dictated to her, she only continued to stare at him dolefully – had he ever seen the woman take notes? However, eccentric as Diana Prince was, she had the uncanny ability of easily getting a hold of Wonder Woman.
The possibility of seeing his main squeeze was enough to buoy up his spirits as he sat in an armchair at the Metropolis Café. For the fifth time that morning, he dialed his office extension only to be met with the familiar voicemail message that Eve had created long ago. Well, he would have to have a talk with the Colonel about Lieutenant Prince and her lack of professionalism. Major Steve nursed his cup of black coffee with pursed lips and silent contemplation. A sharp voice jerked him from his reverie.
"You'd better not tell me you gave that story to Kent, Perry," yelled a very angry Lois Lane on her phone as she stormed into the small café. There was no one to hear her but the barista, Major Steve, and a huddled group of high schoolers dressed in black. "Triple shot, on the fly," she barked at the barista as she snapped her fingers at him. It had been a trying morning. She had come to work early, but that heinous Clark Kent had somehow beaten her there – "Good morning, Lois," he had greeted her in his pathetically polite way. Soon after, she had lost a list of leads she had been researching for days when Kent tripped over the power cord of her computer on his way to grab a donut. And then Perry had given Kent the biggest story of the week and had stuck her with covering another sanitation strike. Another one.
But Lois was not about to give up so easily. "You listen to me, chief," she continued, "Kent can't deal with strong women. You let me handle the Wonder Woman story."
Upon hearing this, Steve Trevor's ears perked up. He quickly sized up the tiny woman who was snatching her coffee from the now-rattled barista. She smacked of familiarity – well, he assumed that she was who he thought she was. As she slammed her phone shut and barreled over to a nearby table, Steve cleared his throat. "Excuse me," he ventured, "but do you work for the Daily Planet?"
Major Trevor was not a slight man, nor was he an ill-looking one. Although dressed in civilian clothes, he was dressed smartly; furthermore, his sleek blond hair and sparkling blue eyes exuded charm and endless possibilities of excitement. Therefore, Lois stopped in her tracks and regarded him with interest. She would not dismiss him immediately. "Yes," she answered civilly, "I'm Lois—"
"Yes, yes, I thought so," cried Steve, "Superman's girlfriend, Lois Lane."
Lois scratched her neck at this one. "Well," she said slowly, "I'm Superman's…you know." She was quickly losing interest in the conversation. There were more important things on her mind.
"I do." Steve's tone was serious. "I only ask because I'm Wonder Woman's you know." He held out his hand. "Steve Trevor, United States Army."
Lois considered him for a minute, and then broke into a smile as she shook his hand. Here was a perfect lead for her pitch to Perry. She felt not the slightest guilt as she asked him sweetly, "Mind if I join you? The view from here is great."
Steve looked confused. "…The view?"
Lois set her coffee on the table in front of Steve's armchair and pointed outside the floor-length window. "We're in Little Bohemia," she explained. "We can easily catch glimpses of Superman and Wonder Woman fight Metalo over by the Daily Planet building from here."
As Major Steve was generally unconscious while Wonder Woman vanquished evil, this was a new prospect. "That's kind of gruesome," he whistled, but Lois's proud smile made him reconsider his sentiment. It might be kind of interesting to see Wonder Woman take on evil that was not interested in including him in the plan – certainly a welcome change from the usual scheme of things.
Steve watched Lois settle into the armchair facing him and take a long sip of her coffee. As she absently tapped her mug, he smiled. He knew that look. His face had worn it countless times too. Their eyes met and she frowned disapprovingly, but then she softened her face when she remembered why she was sitting with him. Yes, he was a kindred spirit as the you know of a superhero, but he was also going to provide her with an angle on Wonder Woman that Perry would surely find irresistible. "What's on your mind, Steve?" she inquired.
"I'm thinking about the price of bus fare from D.C. to here." Steve said this quickly and flashed her a winsome grin. It was the grin he used when he wanted to distract a woman, or trick a spy into feeling at ease.
But Lois was an old pro at detecting falsehoods. "You look like my niece Susie when she's been caught telling a lie," she warned.
Steve shrugged agreeably, then confessed, "I'm thinking about Wonder Woman, and myself." He leaned forward, and Lois did the same. "I'm thinking that it's strange not to be in the middle of all the action for once. Usually the bad guys like to come after me to lure her to her doom." He finished off the sentence in a sarcastically ominous voice, but the back of his neck started to sweat when he thought about one particular instance with Doctor Psycho.
Despite herself, Lois nodded solemnly at this. "I know the feeling," she confided in him. "All of Superman's 'friends' like to keep me abreast of the action. But then again" – she couldn't help but brag – "I tend to be where the action is breaking. It's what I do best."
Major Steve appeared duly impressed, but was eager to continue their conversation. With an easy laugh, he said, "You know, I'm surprised that I can still function properly after all those times I've been bonked on the head into unconsciousness thanks to Wonder Woman's foes." He quickly blushed when he saw the supercilious look that she gave him.
"I don't know about that, I'm afraid," said Lois slowly, unable to hide a smirk. When she saw how embarrassed and crestfallen Steve looked, she felt sorry for him and added, "But Superman's enemies do enjoy taking me hostage. I suppose it comes with the territory."
"I suppose so," Steve concurred. The truth was that he had lately been wondering if he didn't get knocked out a little too often – inhaling chloroform, getting pelted by caving roofs, being clubbed in the head with various accoutrements of assault. This was to be expected to some extent as he was a United States intelligence officer, but he had to draw a line somewhere for the sake of his own well-being. Ever since Wonder Woman had entered his life, the number of his visits to the hospital had increased dramatically. But she was so darn pretty that she was worth it.
Since he was speaking to Lois Lane – he had a feeling that she would try to squeeze a story out of him eventually – he tried to redeem his character. "You know, Ms. Lane, I've been quite successful in the army, but when I'm around Wonder Woman my accomplishments seem piddling." He heard the sound of a distant crash and they both turned to look out of the window. Far in the distance were the tiny specks of Superman and Wonder Woman hovering in the air as an equally small green-caped figure glinted in the sunlight as it fell.
With a sigh, Lois tore her eyes from the scene. She had worked very hard to achieve her level of success at the Planet, often putting herself in perilous situations in order to crack the latest story. Most people knew not to cross the plucky little reporter because she could put them in their place. Yet ever since she had met Superman, she had had to reassess the validity of this carefully crafted reputation. The realization had hit her after she recovered from the breathlessness of the first time Superman had rescued her from a gaggle of thugs that had pulled her into their car. Being enveloped in his arms as he flew through the air had made her feel remarkably safe and wonderful. While she was with Superman, she had forgotten all about her annoyance at Clark for breaking one of the first Superman stories, her annoyance at Clark for cornering her for a date, her annoyance at Clark for being a spineless ninny during the date itself – although she had boxed the ears of the hooligan herself when she saw that Clark was scared stiff; it all melted away when she was with Superman. Being so vulnerable – and so, well, effeminate – went against her every inclination.
Talking to Steve Trevor reassured her that she was still fine, however. He was the one who must really feel emasculated. And yet she saw that Steve gazed at Wonder Woman's distant figure with deep admiration, and something inside of Lois stirred for the officer. Now here was someone who knew how to think highly of powerful women; he was a true rarity. And he was good-looking to boot.
"I know exactly what you mean," she told him. "Both you and I are able, successful people in our own right, but any of our achievements will always be overshadowed by the abilities of our…you knows. It's inevitable."
"Is it?" demanded Steve, bringing his fist to the table. Their coffees rippled in their respective mugs.
"It is," Lois answered dreamily as she saw the two heroes shoot into the sky and out of sight. Superman's darling cape was especially red today.
Steve too caught sight of his beloved's flouncy, star-spangled skirt – recognizable even from his seat in the café – and felt another wave of affection for his wonderful Wonder Woman. He longed to carry her in his arms, or the other way around, whichever felt right.
"Do you have a date with Wonder Woman after this?" Lois asked him hopefully. If she beat Clark to Wonder Woman, she'd get the story, all the glory, and the satisfaction of beating the insufferably saccharine Clark Kent at his own game.
"Nope," answered the Major cheerfully as he held up his cell phone, "Still trying to get in touch."
"Oh," Lois muttered. Just then, the café's door chime sounded and Clark Kent himself strode in. When he saw the occupants of the two armchairs, he gave an excited wave. "Hello, Lois," he said brightly.
"Clark," she greeted dryly as her colleague hurried over to them.
Steve was going to take this moment to take another shot at calling his office, but the door chime twinkled again and in scurried Diana Prince herself. She paused momentarily, but when she saw Steve she gave a quick jump and scuttled towards him at top speed.
"Major Trevor, sir," she said breathlessly as she saluted him, "I noticed that you hadn't arrived at the office this morning, sir, so I tracked you down and found that you had purchased train tickets to Metropolis and I followed you here!" Steve was visibly less excited about this than the Lieutenant, but he nodded courteously at her.
For a moment, both Steve and Lois had the same idea as they stared at the two bespectacled individuals who stood before them. Clark Kent and Diana Prince could have been twins, with their black hair and near-identical horn-rimmed glasses. The fact that they were both unbearably obsequious was just icing on the cake.
"Uh, Clark Kent," said Clark Kent in order to put an end to the unsettling silence. He held his hand out to Diana.
"Lieutenant Diana Prince of the United States Army," responded Diana emphatically, taking his hand and shaking it with breakneck speed.
Major Steve Trevor was a highly experienced spy and well versed in the art of disguise. In the increasingly rare instances that he was conscious, he was also an extraordinarily perceptive man. So as he studied Clark Kent standing next to Lois, he was met with a very interesting realization. This man was Superman. A strategically placed curl and the removal of those excessively round glasses could prove it instantly. Steve was extremely surprised that a seasoned journalist with a distinctive reputation of investigatory prowess like Lois was unable to see it. What made it all the more entertaining was that Lois could barely contain her indifference towards Clark Kent. Steve just managed to hide his smile of amusement.
Lois meanwhile had been carefully observing Lieutenant Prince, and realization dawned on her. Steve's colleague had an uncanny resemblance to Wonder Woman. In fact, she was almost certain that the severely pulled back hair and the thick spectacles were there precisely to disguise the fact that Diana Prince was Wonder Woman. She had certainly done a good job of it, it seemed, with Lois being an obvious exception – she was a brilliant investigatory journalist, after all. The implausible disguise had certainly fooled Steve Trevor, who pined away for Wonder Woman without realizing that he was constantly in her presence. Really – for someone who had been decorated countless times for his intelligence and quick thinking, Trevor was remarkably stupid. Didn't he say he sustained head injuries rather often? Lois valiantly tried to contain her smugness.
In fact, with only a few cleverly executed traps, she could get concrete proof that Diana Prince was Wonder Woman – there would be the story to propel her into international fame. But for all her determination and thirst for success, Lois was extremely honorable. She would say nothing, only bask in the knowledge that she knew more about Wonder Woman than Clark ever would. Let the upstart have his damn interview.
Steve and Lois's eyes met and they exchanged polite but disdainful smiles, each wondering how the other one had advanced as far in their careers as they had considering their ignorance of the immediate circumstances. Finally, Lois rose. "Well, Officer Trevor, it was very nice meeting you." She handed him her card. "Do let me know if you're ever in Metropolis again and have come to any new realizations about your you know."
As Steve gave her his own card, he wanted to laugh. Really, it was too funny. "A pleasure, Ms. Lane. If our you knows are in Washington, we'll have to meet again and continue our conversation in my favorite café." He then added rather mischievously, "Bring Mr. Kent along as well."
Lois narrowly regarded him. "Right," she said briskly, "Come along, Kent."
"Me, Lois?" her colleague asked, bewildered.
Lois only groaned and waved her hand, which sent Clark packing. As they left the café, they heard Steve and Diana engaged in conversation through the sound of the door chime.
"Major Trevor, sir, I have your messages for you. I have also taken the liberty of contacting Wonder Woman for you, sir, but she is not available today. I was wondering, sir, if perhaps you would like to see the sights of Metropolis with me instead?" Diana looked at Steve longingly, blinking her enlarged blue eyes with some anxiety.
If only Wonder Woman were around him all of the time like Superman was around Lois Lane. Instead, he was stuck with the insufferable Diana Prince who was determined to suck all of the oxygen from him. "Maybe some other time," he scowled, "I'm going to go around town and try to catch Wonder Woman myself."
"All right, sir," Diana resigned, barely able to contain the sadness in her voice. Steve paid no mind to this. After all, she was no Wonder Woman.